PITTSBURGH (AP) — Travis Wood hadn't won a game in more than two months. The worst defensive game by the Pittsburgh Pirates in more than a quarter century gave the struggling Chicago Cubs pitcher all the help he needed.
Wood gave up one hit over six innings, and the Cubs won 12-2 Friday night to stop a six-game losing streak.
"The pitches were working good and the defense was outstanding behind me," Wood said.
The Pirates, not so much.
Playing meaningful September baseball for the first time in 20 years, Pittsburgh hardly looked like a playoff team, committing seven errors and leaving typically chatty manager Clint Hurdle at a loss for words.
"Our worst game of the season," said Hurdle, who was ejected in the sixth inning. "We stunk tonight. There's always a sense of pride you take out on the field to play your best every night you go out there. Sometimes your best stinks. That's where we were tonight."
Wood (5-12) ended a streak of 10 straight winless starts by striking out five and walking three. He was aided by a spectacular catch from centerfielder Brett Jackson to end the sixth inning. Jackson crashed into the fence tracking down a deep flyball from Pittsburgh's Andrew McCutchen to cut short the Pirates' only real rally attempt.
Jackson laid on the ground for several minutes before walking off under his own power, though he was immediately replaced by Tony Campana. The Cubs led by seven runs at the time, but Jackson said he never considered just letting it go.
"It was a big moment in the game for Travis and for us as a team," said Jackson, who suffered a bruised knee and is unlikely to play Saturday. "We'd lost six in a row. Seven runs didn't seem like enough at the time. We were going to win that game today."
Starlin Castro had three hits, including the 500th of his career, and drove in four runs for the Cubs. Alfonso Soriano added three hits and three RBI as Chicago took full advantage of one of the worst defensive nights in Pittsburgh's 130-year history.
The Pirates had not made seven errors in a game since 1985 and finished one shy of the club record set in 1939. It was the first seven-error game in the majors since Atlanta in a 2004 loss to Colorado.
A.J. Burnett (15-6) struggled against one of baseball's worst batting orders, though having his teammates give the Cubs extra out after extra out certainly didn't help. Burnett allowed seven runs — three earned — and eight hits in five innings. He struck out four and walked one.
Pittsburgh's problems started early. Chicago took a 1-0 lead in the first thanks in part to an error by Pittsburgh rookie second baseman Brock Holt.